Tinco Lycklama honoured by the city of Cannes at 2017 summer exhibition.

Cannes TLF Logos

Since the formal recognition of the Tinco Lycklama Foundation as an official partner, the City of Cannes announces the first outcome of this partnership. Together, they will present an exhibition dedicated to the life and work of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt, the first Dutch orientalist and founder of the first municipal museum of Cannes.

The exhibition is titled “Le Fabuleux Voyage du Chevalier Lycklama en Orient (1865-1868)“, and will run from July 8 til October 29, 2017 – at the Musée de la Castre in Cannes. Lycklama’s travels through Persia and the Middle East will take center stage, but the exhibition will also offer insights into how this singular Dutch aristocrat became fascinated with the Orient, through highlights of his origins in his native Friesland and his influences. In addition, it will showcase Lycklama’s publications and the creation of his collections – which he donated to the city of Cannes in 1877. Finally, the exhibition will also talk about the origins of Cannes, its development as a winter destination for Europe’s elites in the 19th century, and the place that Tinco Lycklama took in society life in the early days of the ‘Belle Epoque’.

The event in Cannes will be followed by a similar event in 2018 in the Dutch province of Friesland, at the occasion of its capital Leeuwarden being the European Capital of Culture that year.

Click the links below for the official announcement by the city of Cannes…

Important Lycklama memorabilia recovered from German auction

BREAKING NEWS – 02/10/2016. At an auction today in Munich (D), Wibo Boswijk for the Tinco Lycklama Foundation (a non-profit, based in The Netherlands) has been able to recover two exceptional family items of the Lycklama à Nijeholt, a Dutch aristocratic family in the province of Friesland. It concerns…

  1. The Patent of Nobility delivered in 1817 by King Willem I to Tinco Martinus Lycklama à Nijeholt (1766-1844); and
  2. The Order of the Oak Crown, including a painted portrait miniature, of Jan Anne Lycklama à Nijeholt (1809-1891).

These were respectively the grandfather and the father of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900), the orientalist. The latter derived his title of “jonkheer” from this Patent of Nobility awarded to his grandfather. Both items have left the Netherlands over a century ago, and never returned. The destination of these items will be communicated later.



Discovering Persepolis through the eyes of a 19th century traveller, with drawings and early photography.

NEWS RELEASE (PDF download available here)

Tinco Lycklama Foundation takes a forgotten travel account from 1866 to the public and international audiences through a novel learning experience.

persepolis-logos-3Amsterdam/Cannes, October 29, 2016  —–  For the first time, the travel account of a forgotten Dutch traveller about his visit to the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis is now available to the public in English and Dutch. In a novel approach to learning about sites from antiquity, the original French text and its translations are combined with contemporary drawings and early photography. Through an online reader, the observations of a traveller can be understood through images by others. The dedicated http://www.inpersepolis.org web site offers over 600 illustrations, and links to the digitised travelogues from over 30 other early travellers who, over the course of three centuries, visited Persepolis. The intention of this project by the Dutch Tinco Lycklama Foundation is to complement the scholarly work and archaeological projects around Near Eastern antiquity. It offers the public a new experience that visualises how early travellers experienced antiquity at a time when little was known about these ancient sites.


On October 29, 1866, the Dutch traveller Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900) visited the 2,500-year old ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis. Lycklama is considered the first Dutch orientalist and the first among his countrymen who undertook digging at ancient sites in the Near East. After his return to his native Friesland in The Netherlands, he started a museum around the artefacts he brought along from his three and a half year voyage through Russia, Persia, Mesopotamia, and the Levant. His collections are now the cornerstone of the Musée de la Castre, the municipal museum of Cannes (France). Lycklama published a 2,200-page travel account, in French, and his valuable observations were never translated.

The Tinco Lycklama Foundation was recently created in The Netherlands and is dedicated to the study and revelation of remarkable but forgotten stories – like Lycklama’s. Through collaborative research and the virtual collection of digitised information and resources, it works on international projects that take forgotten knowledge to the public and revive the interest in a broad range of themes in history, heritage and culture.

InPersepolis – an innovative educational experience

The “InPersepolis” project is one example. The travel account by Tinco Lycklama was published in French shortly after his 1865-68 ‘grand voyage’ – and it was never translated. The Foundation extracted the 35 pages from his books that concern Persepolis and its region, and translated it into English and Dutch. Next, it researched the drawings and photography that date back to the timeframe of Lycklama’s visit, and combined these illustrations with Lycklama’s narrative. Finally, it also researched the accounts from other travellers since the early 17th century, and offers readers access to the online digitised copies of these travelogues – thus allowing a comparison of the observations from different moments, preceding the era of modern archaeology.

The result is a unique reader that allows users to discover the ancient city of Persepolis through the intimate observations from travellers. It helps the public to understand the amazement felt by these travellers when contemplating the colossal remains of such ancient sites – at a time when it was still very complicated to reach them and when travel was still a significant adventure.

Next steps

The InPersepolis project will continue to evolve through the discovery of new illustration material and other forgotten travel accounts. It also sets the stage for similar projects that related to Tinco Lyckama’s other visits to sites from antiquity and his own digs for artefacts in the Near East – including Babylon, Niniveh and Palmyra. Lycklama was indeed the first Dutchman ever to undertake some (limited) excavations in the region. The project will take shape over the next two years, following the chronology of Tinco Lycklama’s own travel – hundred fifty years ago.

The non-profit Tinco Lycklama Foundation is developing international cooperation with major scientific institutions – including libraries, archives and museums – in order to turn these projects into a unique educational experience for students and the general public.

For more information…

How to become a (re)searcher with the Tinco Lycklama Foundation?

Here is how we envisage “(re)search” at the Foundation. We share with you an open-ended list of topics that relate to our current theme – the remarkable but forgotten life story of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900). Everyone can participate and engage with these topics – or suggest and pursue new ones. You can jump straight away to this form and tell us about your interests.

The activities of the Foundation revolve around three pillars : collaborative (re)search, virtual libraries, and co-creative projects. We’re now shaping up the first one – (re)search.

We make a distinction between research and search. Some people have the resources to conduct advanced research, whereas others make a tremendous contribution by simply chasing information and artefacts that contribute to the overal story.

tlf-three-pillars-of-activity-research-avatarAnyone can be a (re)searcher. You don’t have to be an academic. The skills needed for search and documentation can be acquired on the spot – by doing. And, we learn from others through collaboration – including scholars. At the Foundation, we encourage everyone to participate. – and to do so by pursuing topics that you can personally relate to such as family history, local heritage, or your general fields of interest. Each according to one’s own abilities and personal inspiration.

We explain our approach on this introduction page, from where you can also click to the open list of research topics. You will notice that some of them go beyond Tinco Lycklama and reach into more general areas – including genealogy, local history, biography, art, photography, archaeology, commercial ventures…  They also apply to a broad geography including France, The Netherlands, Russia, the Middle East – and beyond. Thanks to the tremendous digital resources that libraries, archives and museums worldwide provide, so much can be done.

We recommend these topics, but there are no limitations. You are free to pursue related topics that you are interested in. Tell us what you’d like to do using this form. Our objective is to help and orchestrate your efforts into an open online library that will benefit everyone. Plus, together, we’ll develop educational projects (publications, online narratives, exhibitions…) that build from your (re)search and reach out to the general public.

If you want to be a (re)searcher, there’s only one thing to do : join and get started! 

Announcing the Tinco Lycklama Foundation

TLF - Full logo on light

Encouraging public interest in history, heritage and culture by co-(re)creating “forgotten stories”.

New Foundation incubates new collaborative methods in research, library virtualization and educational projects.

Amsterdam/Cannes, August 25, 2016  —–  The Tinco Lycklama Foundation is retracing the remarkable life and work of Tinco Lycklama à Nijeholt (1837-1900). He is considered to be the first Dutch ‘orientalist’ – but he is all but forgotten. The new Foundation will exploit the effect of surprise and curiosity that such stories engender, to stimulate public interest in collective history, heritage, and culture. It will do so by adopting an innovative “co-creative” approach that involves the public in re-creating these stories. Starting with the story of Tinco Lycklama, the Foundation is already co-operating with institutions and researchers in France, The Netherlands, the Middle East, and elsewhere.